Reykjavik is a small city, but it packs a hearty punch when it comes to things to do. But look beyond the more crowded and well-known sights and discover some alternative things to do in Iceland's quirky capital city.
For those who have taken a stroll through Klambratún park in 105, it’s very likely that you would have seen these random objects scattered around the park:
They’re the targets used for frisbee golf, also known as disc golf, of which there is a course in Klambratún Park just 15 minutes walk from downtown Reykjavik. With designated tee-off points for each hole, the aim of this fun sport is exactly like golf – you need to throw your frisbee into the chain basket, or the ‘target’, with the least amount of throws possible.
Sunny days will see the entire park packed with locals launching their frisbees about with friends, so join in the fun and spend the day perfecting your aim; a great way to spend a summer's day in Reykjavik. You can play with as many people as you want, and the game is made even more fun thanks to Icelandic open-container laws. For those looking to buy a professional disc/frisbee for the game, you can head to Frisbígolf Búðin in Kópavogur, Nýbýlavegi 8.
Swimming at a beach is probably not the activity you pictured doing in this cold, northern, capital city. But locals do go swimming, both in cold water (very briefly), and in the slightly warmer temperatures of Reykjavik's geothermal beach, Nauthólsvík. Cold sea water clashes with the warm geothermal water that is pumped into a small lagoon, combining to ultimately raise the temperature of the water to anywhere between 59-66°F (15-19°C) during the warmer summer months.
The beach is equipped with showers, changing rooms, as well as steam baths and hot tubs for those who decide the water temperature isn’t warm enough for them. Admission during the summer is free (from the 15th of May until the 15th of August), otherwise it’s 600 isk. The entire area is great for outdoor activities, with the forest Öskjuhlíð nearby containing a lot of great walking trails as well.
The galleries of Reykjavik are crammed full of amazing and talented artists and their works but walking around the streets reveals a wealth of graffiti, murals, stencils and tag, turning the sometimes-bland Reykjavik into a colourful and exciting world. The ever-changing works make hunting down the pieces a bit tricky in some cases, and as downtown is in a constant state of construction there can be new ones popping up daily on temporary construction walls.
Read: Street Art in Reykjavik
Now very popular across all of Europe, Reykjavik doesn’t fall behind when it comes to having its fair share of Escape Rooms. Not found on any itinerary of things to do in Reykjavik, you’ll usually only find other locals doing these kinds of activities. With different themes across several locations, you have to solve puzzles and riddles to try and escape the room before the time runs out. Trying this out with your friends is a fun way to spend some time in Reykjavik and escape the tourist crowds.
Iceland isn’t a country that’s very well known for its alcohol – apart from Brennivín, or The Black Death, one might think there isn’t a lot to celebrate. But situated in a quiet corner of Garðabær is the Eimverk Whiskey Distillery, distributor of Iceland’s first single malt whiskey brewed from 100% Icelandic ingredients. Barley grows on some farms along the south coast in the warmer months and is used in the making of this special Icelandic drink that was only out of its cask in November of 2017.
Also distilled on site is a special Icelandic gin, infused with flora and herbs that must have been growing in the Icelandic countryside for the past 100 years. For more information, read about the tasting tour here or just go ahead and book a tour.
The best travel recommendations come from locals. Check out these Wanderguides from Iceland by locals sharing their travel tips and hidden gems.